CTAHR NEWS

School Spirit(s)

Fermentation Biochemistry students distill alcohol into hand sanitizer...home brewers can help!

  • 26 March 2020
  • Author: Frederika Bain
  • Number of views: 851
  • 0 Comments
School Spirit(s)

Desperate times call for imaginative measures. Instead of making rum and ginger beer, students in CTAHR’s Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering (MBBE) department are using the knowledge theyʻve gained to distill hand sanitizer.

Fermentation Biochemistry course consultant and MBBE PhD candidate Nick Sinclair is excited about the project to help combat COVID-19 by supplying sorely needed hand sanitizers to the community. “We are hoping that all of Hawai‘i will be able to benefit from us alleviating at least our section of the populace from having to buy hand sanitizer,” he said. “This is also a learning experience for everyone involved, so this experience enriches our education as well.”

The project began weeks ago, when classmates in Fermentation Biochemistry were originally planning to make rum for the CTAHR Banquet by fermenting sugar and water to be distilled into alcohol. But public shortages of hand sanitizer caused by COVID-19 led to a decision to change direction and turn the product into hand sanitizer. The class only had to alter a few steps in the process, including distilling the spirit to a greater percentage of ethanol. CDC guidelines call for hand sanitizers to be at least 60% alcohol to kill the coronavirus, and the class’s product will meet that mark.

Kento Senga, a Food Science and Human Nutrition student who took the class because of his interest in fermentation and the process of making alcoholic beverages, says when the class shifted to hand sanitizer, the process was not at all different. “We are still making an alcoholic product with the same procedures and fermentation methods. Plus this is a good opportunity for us to help some people in a more meaningful way,” he says.

After distillation, the pulp of fresh, locally grown aloe provided by Dr. Ken Leonhardt (TPSS) was extracted and blended smooth. This creates a gel-like consistency and keeps the spirit from drying out hands excessively. Next, it will be mixed with the distilled alcohol and the product will be tested.

“Eventually, we hope to be able to distribute it at the very least to people around us, but the class is also working on other channels of distribution,” says Nick.

Dr. Bingham adds, “The course unexpectedly took a turn, which illustrates to students clearly that in business models, there has to be portfolio diversity/flexibility, and ultimately we need to respond to the needs of the community in such a situation as COVID-19. This is a lesson I hope they take beyond their years at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.”

Home brewers: If you are able to brew high-alcohol-content spirit at home and want to donate it to be made into hand sanitizer, please contact J.P. Bingham at jbingham@hawaii.edu.

Print
Tags:

Renaissance Agent

Molokaʻi Extension welcomes Marshall Joy

Positioned for Growth

Thesis explores a clonal rootstock program for cacao in Hawaiʻi

Bad Seed

USDA investigates packages of unsolicited seeds from China

Fire and Rain

SOEST and CTAHR document the first hurricane to cause both flooding and multiple fires.

Bringing UH to Cambodia

FCS joins a $1 million project to study socioeconomic and environmental shifts.

Sweet!

Learn about Native Hawaiian sweet potato varieties

Vegetable Garden Isle

Extension agents feed the hungry with the fruits of their research

Soil Rx

Extension offers conference on soil health

Mama Cows

Agent offers webinar on choosing heifers for cow/calf producers

Fashion Fights COVID

FDM alumna’s fashion-forward scrubs benefit Hawaiʻi Food Bank

The Sponge Microbiome

Zoom in July 28 for a childhood fascination turned hard science

Go(Help)Farm

Positions open at farmer-training program. Deadline is July 17.

World of Plants

Virtual conference offers expanded resources

Honors in the Lab

HNFAS student is recognized for poultry research

Student Columnists

Read all about Family and Consumer Sciences in the Maui News

Contact ASAO

Check out this directory for different services

AI Is Eye-Opening

Mealani Station shares an important technique with CTAHR faculty

Campus Reopening

Provost Bruno will host virtual forum 2:00 p.m. Thursday (TOMORROW)

On-Target Genome Editing

Study aimed at children’s diseases could help boost agricultural production

A Garden Isle Welcome

New county administrator joins the Kaua‘i Extension ‘ohana

‘Awa, Anyone?

Pu‘u O Hoku Ranch offers a CTAHR-exclusive discount

What Lies Beneath…

Find out June 30 how plant roots influence the soil in which they grow

Convocation Memories

Links to Spring 2020 graduation video and grads now available

How Can We Help?

Human Development and Family Sciences develops a quick guide to coping

12345678910Last